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WTXL: Hurricane Michael Hurts Fishing Industry

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Ever since Hurricane Michael passed through commercial fisherman have been finding it hard to make a livable-wage.


WTXL's Jada Williams looked into how some of the men who used to make a living-fishing are having to find other jobs.


Summers in Florida usually mean that the waters are full of fishermen working to making a living.


But things are calmer this summer.


"It's getting harder and harder with the storm debris and what they have us fishing with to make a living out there," said Kelvin Robins.


For 42 years, Kelvin Robins has been hitting the water as a commercial fisherman.


Robins still has a view of the water this summer, he's just not quite as close.


"That's the reason I'm up there on that deck working up there instead of out there on the water," said Robins.


And Robins isn't alone.


"I don't know how much longer we can hang on," said Jonas Porter.


Many of the men who used to hop on their boats to bring back seafood are instead climbing ladders to build beachfront property.


"With the weather being bad and the fish being bad, I learned to do other things to make a living," said Robins.


Hurricane Michael washed debris into the water.


That debris is damaging boats and equipment, but that's not the biggest concern for fishermen.


"The main reason I wouldn't want to fish right now is that flesh eating bacteria," Robins.

Fisherman are afraid to get wet because of the disease.


There's also the concern from red tide, where toxins from dead fish are causing respiratory issues for the fishermen.


Some fishermen believe that the best thing to clear debris would be another Hurricane.

"We need some good 50 miles per hour winds," said Jonas Porter. But others disagree.

"It might flush some out, but it'll just put more debris in the water," said Robins.


Until something happens to change the tides, fishermen throughout the state are left either sifting through their days work or finding new ventures.


The Hurricane has also caused the price of fish to increase, meaning you'll be spending more money the next time you buy seafood.

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